Battle of Bands, a fundraising event was organised by Institute of Applied Management and Research, in association with Sumangali Sewa Ashram in support of underprivileged cancer patients.
The event saw bands from diverse genres come together to enthrall the audience. From fusion to Hindi music and rock to metal, the atmosphere was interspersed with an eclectic mix of music.
Sitting right in the front, judge Pradeep Adwani, founder of Pradeep Adwani's Institute for the Performing Arts (PAIPA) set the tone of the evening.
"I am really looking forward to see how the bands bring in the Indian element into the music. Though fusion is not the main criteria for giving marks, what’s more important is who gives a powerful onstage performance," he said.
Audience was upbeat right from the start. With 12 bands in the line-up, hopes were high.
"There are some really good upcoming bands on the scene and I am looking forward to a good time tonight," said Shraddha from St Stephen's College.
The Soul, which took the crown home for the best band blended classical and western beautifully with an assortment of instruments ranging from flute and tabla to guitars and drums. Inspired by Trilok Gurtu (Indo-western percussionist), the band members want to make Indian Classical accessible to the crowd.
The band doesn't want a classification or genre. They just like playing music be it fusion metal, or classical.
The Soul's Sujit Gupta said, "We are all trained in classical music – Raag Jog. We try to fuse the classical elements into rock to create this hybrid sound."
"We have combined respectable Indian classical instruments like tabla and flute. We look upto great musicians like Zakir Hussain, and try to create a unique sound", said Sagar Bhatia, lead guitarist.
"We don't care about where we will be five years down the line, our main aim is to entertain", he added.
After The Soul serenaded the audience with their unique sound, the metal lovers were in for an electrifying treat.
The chirping of birds in The Garden Of Five Senses was cut short as metal band DNQ brought the house down with covers of metal gods - Lamb Of God and Slipknot.
These upcoming metal bands idolise the gods of western metal who they worship for their attitude, looks and music.
5th international, a Delhi thrash metal band is greatly influenced by metal bands like Metallica, Megadeth and Pantera. Though primarily influenced by western metal gods, these young metal-heads also appreciate Indian metal bands.
Paul who plays the bass for 5th international says with a grin, "Indian metal scene is looking up, my favourite band is Pin Drop Violence. I like Myndsnare too – because of the female drummer."
Siddhant, drummer for metal band Hallucination which took the runners up prize, is greatly influenced by Travis Barker of Blink 182. With complex beats, double peddling, and the perfect tempo to the rendition of Metallica's Master of Puppets, the band created quite a sensation.
The headbangers were out in the front moshing away to glory as a slight drizzle added to the electric atmosphere. If the rain couldn't dampen the spirits of the few present head- bangers, the police surely did.
The melody suddenly turned sour after an altercation between the local police and the organisers.
Hallucination's vocalist walked out of the stage in fury, amidst chants of "Ban the police".
"We are free! Let the music play, we want the head-bangers back on stage," said Eric Jonze, an American student, frustrated by the police's interference.
But neither the rain nor the police could halt the momentum as the music blared in the amphitheatre. The audience enjoyed some bands and was indifferent to others. On the whole the event brought revelations about the emerging music scene in India. Indian metal scene is still in its nascent stages. The musicians express their dissatisfaction with the sponsors and unenthusiastic audience.
While he is least concerned with fame, Suvek, the lead guitarist of 5th international, lays the blame on the lack of opportunities and platforms to showcase their music.
The audience though has another grudge against them.
The music scene lacks the creative unpredictability of a live performance. One gets to see the usual covers of Iron Maiden, Lamb of God and Metallica. Things would look up for metal in India once the bands start exploring new genres - avant-garde, folk, melodic etc.
"I just heard that DNQ is influenced by As I Lay Dying! Finally the Indian scene is moving beyond Metallica and Megadeth, there's a lot more experimentation going on out there in the metal scene," says amateur drummer, Vivek Mishra.
It's long way to go for people in India to appreciate new sounds.
As Apoorva Dutt, a metal fan, sums it up succintly, "The audience is still immature, Delhi still has the Punjabi music hangover, much to the anguish of most metal bands."